Show cause: MSEB engineer who made ‘Chhota Pak’ official faces probe

A scathing letter from the state minorities commission has forced Maharashtra State Electricity Board (MSEB) to finally initiate action against a junior engineer for bills bearing the postal address 'Chhota Pakistan' issued to a few Nalasopara (West) residents.

The bills were received by a couple of households in Santosh Bhavan and Rashid Compound, sparking outrage. After receiving flak from the minorities commission in December, MSEB instituted an inquiry under Vasai suprintending engineer Dinesh Sabu.

"After the inquiry, a show-cause notice was issued to junior engineer Vahid Khan, who was in charge of Nalasopara (West) when addresses of the said households were registered. Necessary action will be taken against him after we receive his reply," said Ram Dotonde, MSEB spokesperson.

The board, meanwhile, claimed the term 'Chhota Pakistan' was used by applicants themselves.

"A man in his first application and also in a subsequent one used 'Chhota Pakistan' in his postal address. But we agree it was wrong on the part of then in-charge to have overlooked it," Dotonde said.

Minorities commission chairman Munaf Hakeem demanded stringent action against officials responsible for the "huge lapse".

"Such incidents show communal mindset of certain officials. Branding the area itself is sad, mentioning it in postal address on an official document is offending. It is such a derogatory term to refer to Muslim-dominated areas in India. Not all residents of the area are receiving bills with the postal address 'Chhota Pakistan'. We feel MSEB is to blame as it could have verified and resolved the matter at the primary stage itself," he said.

Residents of Santosh Bhavan and Rashid Compound claimed cops branded the area 'Chhota Pakistan' over a decade ago and since then it has been affecting their lives.

Haji Yakub (82) of Santosh Bhavan often narrates a story of how the locality came to be called 'Chhota Pakistan'.

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